Can a white King move next to a black King to check it, if there is a white pawn protecting the white King, preventing the black King from taking the white King?

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    David, there may be some difficulties in recognizing the pieces on the photo. Is that your board configuration? 8/1P1K4/1k6/2p5/6P1/8/2R5/4b3 w You can paste this PGN string into a board analizer, such as chess.com/analysis-board-editor to see if the picture matches your real board.
    – Diedrsch
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 0:58
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    Yes it is. D7 is white king, B7 is white pawn, B6!is black King and C5 is black pawn.
    – David
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 1:04
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    Is your pawn at b7 close to promotion? Or is it in its start-up position? How did your game start? I think that you arranged all white pawns at rank7 (h7 g7 f7 e7 d7 c7 b7 a7) and black panws at rank2. That is not the standard way. I will try to answer your question assuming the board flipped. 3b4/5R2/8/1P6/5p2/6k1/4K1P1/8 w
    – Diedrsch
    Commented Apr 1, 2018 at 1:45
  • A king can't stalemate or check a king legally so it can't mate Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 6:27

3 Answers 3


Hi David and welcome to chess.stackexchange.com. This is a common question.

It's illegal to move a king into check, or to leave it in check. This includes moving a king adjacent to the opposing king. If you have no legal moves then the game is over: if your king is in check then you are checkmated and you have lost, otherwise you are stalemated and the game is drawn. This is basic to chess, and doesn't require any particular Laws.

If you want chapter and verse, you can find it in the FIDE Laws (which operate in all parts of the world apart from USA) Articles 1.4.1 & 3.9.2. While reading Article 1.4.1, you might also notice that it's illegal to capture the opponent's king. You might reflect that this is a curious rule in two respects (a) it can never apply in a legal position - because it would have been illegal for the opponent to have left his king in check! (b) it would never be a good move to capture the opponent's king - because then you could never checkmate it! You would be right in this reflection, but the rule is there to stop things get too crazy if an illegal move isn't spotted immediately.

To summarize: you can never move so that your king is in check, even if the king is "protected".


This is an illegal move. Even if the White King is protected, you can never put your King en prise.

However, if you were to play such a move and your opponent didn't call it ON THAT MOVE, an interesting scenario arises. Under the FIDE handbook, section 7.5.1, it says that if an illegal move happens during a game, the position before it will be reinstated. So, assume White moves his King to c6 (illegal) and Black didn't call it and moved his King to b6 (also illegal in this instance). If White THEN called Black for his illegal move to b6, the game would be reinstated to the position before White moved his King to c6 (the first illegal move that happened in the game).

Link to the FIDE Handbook:


  • You are totally wrong on the Carlsen-Inarkiev case. The Laws had been changed before that game was played, the changes did not change the ruling in that particular case, and Carlsen did not make an illegal move. Also, while it may be a matter of interpretation, I would not say that arbiters changed their mind, the first arbiter made a mistake, the chief arbiter simply corrected that mistake and he was firm and consistent in his ruling. Commented Apr 3, 2018 at 8:43
  • @IA Petr Harasimovic If Carlsen didn't make an illegal move then what was the controversy? Commented Apr 4, 2018 at 17:38
  • I am not sure myself as the situation was pretty clear. The problem was that the arbiter who dealt with the (incorrect) claim by Ernesto Inarkiev made a mistake and declared the game lost for Carlsen. He should not have. But I would not say there was any controversy, it was just a mistake. I can't tell you what caused the mistake though. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 23:06
  • @IA Petr Harasimovic I looked it up and Inarkiev left his King en prise, but Carlsen just played another move (not another illegal move in turn). So you're right, just a bad initial ruling. Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 23:56

Your movement is not valid because you are giving up your white King. It does not matter if you counter-attack with the pawn after losing your king. The match is won by the player who first takes the King.

There are questions related to yours, for example Can a piece pinned to my king put the opponent's king in check?

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    +1 for the rule of thumb, that whoever captures the king first wins. This is much easier to remember than remembering longish FIDE rules for each situation separately. Commented Apr 2, 2018 at 14:44
  • @user1583209, Exactly. IMO chess rule should just discard all these check/checkmate rule. Whoever captures the king first wins the game, simple. If you move you king into check or forget to defend a check, you've just blundered your king, GG.
    – jf328
    Commented Apr 5, 2018 at 8:39

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